Maviddapuram Kanthaswamy Kovil (මාවිද්දපුරම් කන්දසාමි කෝවිල)

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The Sangam Period poetess said: “Koyil illa ooril kudiyirukka vendaam” (Don’t live in a place, where there is no temple).  Maavittapuram is a holy village, and famous Maviddapuram Kanthaswamy Kovil is situated in 30-acre red soil in the Vali North Pradesha Sabha of the Jaffna District.

“Maavittapuram in Tamil means ‘Ma’ (Horse), ‘Vitta’ (Removed) and ‘Puram’ (Holy City). The Chola princess, Maaruthapuraveegavalli, daughter of Thissai Ukkirasinga Cholan, King of the Chola regime in South India, was cursed by a sage when he was in penance. She, along with her friends, laughed and disturbed his penance. The particular sage, with a horse face, cursed Maaruthapuraveegavalli’s face to be turned into a horse face. If she wanted her human face back, she had to travel to Sri Lanka’s North, have a bath at the Keerimalai sacred springs and worship Lord Murugan. Accordingly, she travelled from South India to Jaffna, had a holy bath in the Keerimalai sacred springs and worshipped Lord Murugan. The horse face of Maaruthapuraveegavalli changed into a human face. She presented a Lord Murugan statue and requested her father to build a temple as thanksgiving.

“As per his daughter’s request, King Thissai Ukkirasinga Cholan, built a temple in 789 AD. This place was called Kovil Kadavai at that time, and was changed to Maavittapuram after the miracle. Maavittapuram and Keerimalai are inseparable,” says the Governing Authority and Chief High Priest of Maavittapuram Kanthaswamy temple, Maharajasri D.S. Ratnasabapathy Kurukkal, quoting the Thiruchenthur Puranam.

The original temple had four temple towers facing four directions and five outer routes or paths. The original Maavittapuram Kanthaswamy temple was destroyed by the Portugese during 1700-1800, and rebuilt by the British.

The temple is situated near the Palaly airport, Kaankesanthurai harbour and cement factory. It is an agricultural area with red, fertile soil where betel, banana, mango, jackfruit and tobacco were cultivated.

During the height of the Tiger Terrorist activity, Maavittapuram area was declared a High Security Zone in 1990 and inaccessible to the public. Due this reason, the temple survived  the war with minimum damage to buildings. After the liberation operation of the Sri Lankan army, this temple is again flourishing and accessible to public.

Primary Source : Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai
Ceylon Today

Also See

Map of  Maviddapuram Kanthaswamy Kovil

Please click on the button below to load the Dynamic Google Map (ගූගල් සිතියම් පහලින්)

The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites

Zoom out the map to see more surrounding locations using the mouse scroll wheel or map controls.

Travel Directions to Maviddapuram Kanthaswamy Kovil

Jaffna can be reached through 2 directions. The first one is over the Elephant Pass which is the normal route to Jaffna. The other entrance is from Pooneryn over the newly built Sangupiddi Bridge. This road connects to Mannar.

Route 01 from Colombo to Jaffna (Through Kurunegala)Route 02 from Colombo to Jaffna (Through Puttalam)
Through : Kurunegala – Dambulla – Anuradhapura – Vavuniya
Distance : 400 km
Travel Time : 7-8 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google map
Through : Puttalam – Anuradhapura – Vavuniya
Distance : 400 km
Travel Time : 7-8 hours
Driving Directions : see on Google maps
Route from Jaffna to Maviddapuram Kanthaswamy Kovil
Distance : 18km
Travel time : 20 minutes.
Driving directions : see on google map


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